Often separated in monotypic genus Miliaria on account of lack of sexual dimorphism, moult strategy (the only bunting to have complete post-juvenile moult), and differences in bill structure and tertial pattern; molecular studies, however, suggest that genetic differences so small that placement in separate genus not warranted. See also E. fucata (below). Geographical variation complicated by local conditions that affect plumage colour tones and intensity of streaking; clanceyi tentatively recognized, as its plumage features seem surprisingly constant. Other named races include thanneri (described from Tenerife, in Canary Is), kleinschmidti (from Málaga, in S Spain), algeriensis (from Bône, in Algeria), graeca (from Calamata, in Greece), volhynica (from Volodymyr-Volynskyi, in NW Ukraine), sarmatia (from Askania-Nova, in Kherson Oblast, in S Ukraine) and ignobilis (from near Tbilisi, in Georgia), all synonymized with nominate. Species may be better treated as monotypic. Three subspecies tentatively recognized.
Breeds also in Arabian Peninsula, where expanding (subspecies unknown)#R. Non-breeding visitor also to Egypt and E Arabia (subspecies unknown).
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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